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[Page 28]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

Many music lovers in the district came to hear The Midnight Mass at Christmas and again at Easter because the sung masses contained such gems as portions of Haydn's Mass and excerpts from Mozart's Twelfth Mass.

Bishop Eis was surprised to find that the choir was composed of Slovenes alone. The choir took care of all musical portions given with plays, which were numerous and some exceedingly good.

So well were the plays patronized that a stage, footlighted and well wired, with a complete set of stage scenery which well might be the envy of many a small theatre was purchased.

The new organ was encased in oak especially built for the St. Joseph's Church by the Kilgen & Sons of St. Louis, Mo. It is 18 feet wide, nineteen feet deep, eighteen feet high at the sides and twelve feet high in the center. It has two manuals, a compass of CC to C, 61 notes each and a pedal compass of CCC to F of 30 notes each. It has 22 stops, 962 pedals and six pedal movements. The console is reversed.

The dedication of the new organ took place on May 31, 1908, under the direction of Prof. A. Espel assisted by Francis J.

[Page 30]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

Rev. Klopcic Silver Jubilee

Apr. 4, 1929

[Page 34]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

Rady. To designate that the organ was a gift to the church; printed on the pipes it bears this inscription : "Zveza Slovenskih Fantov."

Two beautifully stained cathedral glass windows were purchased by St. Joseph's and St. Peter's lodges. One window cost the enormous amount of seven hundred dollars, the other just slightly less. The statues adorning the front of the church were purchased by Ciril and Metod Society. Many of the wealthier parishioners either singly or in groups paid for the rest of the windows. Everything was pointing toward that day of days when an edifice costing over one hundred thousand dollars was to be dedicated to His Glory.

The sun shone brilliantly as if it too was sending its blessing earthward, June 18, 1908. All the Catholic lodges in Calumet assembled and all the Slovenian lodges in the county, accompanied by several bands marched through the principal streets of Red Jacket and into the new St. Joseph's Church. The streets were thronged with people hoping to catch a glimpse of the colorful parade.

[Page 36]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

New Parish Home


[Page 37]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

Upon entering the church the lodges were greeted with the music of the new organ. Beginning with the faintest pianissimo its tones swelled and rolled into double crescendo until the very panes in the windows actually shook.

The auditorium of the church was not large enough to seat the crowd so the lodges marched in, viewed the beautiful interior and again marched out. The blessing of the church by Bishop Eis on this memorable day will be long remembered by those present.

Between 1913 and 1921 there was a marked trend cityward by the people of Calumet. Among the nationalities the hardest hit were the Polish people. They had to abandon their parish because so few families were left that they were unable to support it. They became a part of St. Joseph's parish.

A very valuable asset they proved to be as they worked and helped the Slovenians in building the rectory in 1928. The building was built of brick and when completed cost $20,000. It makes a charming home. Practically all the furnishings were purchased by the Sacred Heart League whose efforts in working to raise funds were untiring, until the house was comfortably and tastefully refurnished by the time, the pastor Rev. L. F. Klopcic celebrated his silver jubilee, April 4, 1929.

The pastor in 1930 left for Europe to visit his home. In his absence the Franciscan Fathers of Lemont, Ill. attended to the parochial needs.

In the same year Bishop Baraga's Centennial was commemorated. The ceremonies lasted three days, one in Marquette, Calumet and Eagle Harbor. Thousands of people attended the pilgrimage.

Things seemed to be going along smoothly for two years when a sad blow befell the parish. The pastor after a brief illness, passed away on Sept. 26, 1932. Throngs came to pay their last respects and to view the body as it lay in state in the nave of the church.

Bishop Nussbaum appointed the Rev. Peter Sprajcar to fill the vacancy. He was received by the people of St. Joseph's Church with their customary cordiality.

Highlighting the year 1933 was the ordination of a member of our parish, the Rev. Francis Scheringer. He was the first Slovenian of our parish to become a priest. Following his First Mass which was attended by church dignitaries and clergy a banquet was served by the Sacred Heart League in his honor.

[Page 40]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

At Cemetery Funeral of Rev. L. F. Klopcic


Up to 1938 only minor repairs were needed in the church. But now the question of a new roof was facing the people. Different types of shingles were under consideration. Finally copper was agreed upon and the entire roof including both steeples was sheathed with the metal. The roofing cost $6,000 and it was at this time the only roof of its kind in the Copper Country.

Full coöperation of not only our parishioners but townspeople as well was greatly appreciated. Many kindnesses, too numerous to mention, were appreciatively received by the church.

North of Milwaukee, the St. Joseph's church was acclaimed the most beautiful. Truly just to enter it and to sit or to kneel reverently is an inspiration. Time has mellowed the artist's madonna blues and toned softly the bold reds in the paintings on walls and ceiling. How much must the Slovenes of Calumet, miners, trammers, timbermen, drill boys and business men love their God and church if by the "sweat of their brow" and the callouses on their hands they could turn out in His Honor so beautiful a church as the St. Joseph's.

[Page 42]  St. Joseph's Golden Jubilee - Calumet

Rev. Father Scheringer

Born in Calumet, Mich.

First Slovene priest ordained from
St. Joseph's Church


John B. Vertin    Joseph Sotlich    Matt Stukel    Marcus Sterk
Charter Members of the Church Residing in Calumet


John Kump    Jacob Kolbezan    Mr. & Mrs. Frank Pontello    Mrs. Peter Maierle    Margaret Deržay

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